by C.C. Campbell-Rock

If there is any good to be found in the coronavirus pandemic sweeping America, it is that the lack of access to healthcare has emerged as a civil rights issue and calls for routine mental health treatment are getting louder. Many African Americans need access to local mental health providers.

Health experts are advocating for mental health therapy for essential workers; particularly healthcare workers who are working long stretches of time, without breaks, and are experiencing the trauma of witnessing an out-of-control number of deaths and worrying about taking the virus home to their families.

Recent reports that blacks, indigenous and other people of color are three times as likely to get the coronavirus is a red flag that should not be ignored. In addition to the physical harm the virus causes, African-Americans have to deal with the same extraordinary challenges they faced pre-COVID-19: double-digit unemployment rates, poverty wages, unequal pay, and inadequate schools.


Add to those obstacles, food deserts, the wealth gap, housing insecurities, redlining, police brutality, and other manifestations of structural racism, and, even without COVID-19, the black community must struggle with a toxic brew that can make even the strongest African-Americans physically and mentally unstable.  

Traditionally, African Americans have shied away from seeking mental health services and counseling because of a fear of being called ‘crazy’; but it may be time to abandon that type of thinking and have a mental health wellness check-up.

Back in the day, African-Americans turned to black music for therapy.

In “Only the strong survive,” Jerry Butler sings about his mother’s advice. Although she counseled him on handling a failed love affair, her message was about being mentally strong and overcoming depression.

The black community’s music history is full of black artists who offer such sage advice; especially rhythm and blues, jazz, and blues vocalists, who told stories about the black condition and offered coping skills and suggestions for handling adversity.

What these artists knew and what is still true today is that the black community has and will continue to face extraordinary challenges that threatened both their physical and mental well-being. African Americans need mental healthcare.

Given the challenges facing African Americans, e.g., structural racism, the traditional practice of western psychology, which focuses on individualism, white mental health practitioners may not provide the type of mental health services that therapists who have shared life experiences can provide.


Nana Fofie Amina Bashir

“I am so happy that there is some discussion that names racism as a public health crisis. A long time ago, we were manipulated and gaslit to believe it doesn’t exist. But we all going through an awakening of what’s going on around us,” says Nana Fofie Amina Bashir, a clinical psychologist and expressive arts therapist.

“Shared experience is so much a part of why it’s important to have black therapists and a system’s perspective on the history of trauma, generational trauma, systemic racism, and violence. It’s important to understand who we are engaging in our individual and systemic trauma therapeutics. Many African Americans need mental healthcare.


Bashir is the director of the Institute for Ashé Movement (IAM), a healing arts center based at Xavier University. IAM provides affirming, strengths-based, and culturally resonant mental health and community support services for individuals, partners/couples, families, and groups in the greater New Orleans area.

Clinical therapies are provided for PTSD, anxiety, depression, stress management, and general wellness goals. Also family and relational issues, life strategy & visioning, coping skills, grief and loss , personality “disorders,” and spirituality help is available. These therapies can be accessed as stand-alone services, or with the Ashé Pantheon – IAM’s signature therapeutic dance program.  Services are free or on a sliding scale fee schedule.

IAM serves adults, adolescents, children, elders Queer/Trans/Nonbinary/LGBTQ+ people, partners, families, students, activists/organizers, practitioners, and artists.

“It’s important to call upon our arts, dancing, drumming.  It’s important that we highlight and affirm our cultural art heritage,” Bashir adds, “and it’s important that we understand that we have historically had systemic problems and come to an understanding,” of how these issues impact mental health. Many African Americans need mental healthcare.


Dr. Marshall Mkononi Lee, the founder of IAM, is a clinical psychologist, Yoruba Priest., and practitioner in the African-Indigenous Healing Movement. Lee taught psychology at the University of Michigan, City College of New York, Long Island University, Rutgers University, and both Xavier University and Tulane University. Dr Lee established the IAM at Xavier University two years ago.

IAM is currently open for mental health treatments, with social distancing. IAM also offers private, teletherapy online, but the dance program is temporarily suspended. The organization is in the process of coordinating a Virtual Katrina event to commemorate the 15th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

“Fifteen years in, we’re still traumatized,” the psychologist explains. “Gentrification, loss of property, the trauma is palpable. The wounds have not been allowed to heal. People are still in prison today because the police went crazy arresting people. There is still no actual truth around the man-made disaster of Katrina. African-American students have had to come back to New Orleans and not find the teachers they had in schools.”

Bashir also spoke about a mental health issue that most African-Americans have but may not recognize. African-Americans have been exposed to the same images, same racial animus, and the same racial resentment as Euro-Americans and have internalized these attitudes. “We have to come to terms with our own internalized racism. We need to pull back those layers,” she says.

Good Advice

“They (whites) are quick to say black on black crime,” when the subject of police killings of unarmed black people arises,” but, “we need to talk about poverty, plus internalized racism, and communities stripped of resources, the schools, over-criminalization, mass incarceration, there’s no difference in what causes black on black crime, they keep setting us up for failure.”

In New Orleans, Bashir says, “We need to address ongoing violence in the streets and the effects of Katrina. We’re dealing with systemic racism and violence, veterans disproportionately homeless, school children’s recreation, and the barriers facing our African-American students who are coming to colleges.”

To contact IAM visit their website at or call (504)484-9824.

2 thoughts on “African Americans need mental healthcare.”
  1. Thank you for this discussion!!! I A Professor talked about Homogegeous characteristics of Herds. We believe it’s related to your subject…

    LBRC- What is “Homogeneous Ignorance”? When does one become a “Talking Head”? This Yale Graduate and NYU Professor talks about the “Impartial Education”. What is this? Does Yale, NYU or any other matter? Food for thought? 

    1. What is “Truth”? When one declares “Social Change”, do they really know? 

    2. What is “Homogeneous Stupidity” and/or ignorance, plus how is it manufactured and promulgated?

    3. Why is “Peer Review” so essential and a must in “All Fields” of study, not only The “Natural” Sciences? What is the Definition of “Education”- “A change in behavior”? Therefore, when is the “Education” of a Fool subject to definition? Whether you’re an avid liar, deceiver, murderer, thief and/or yada…, scholarship challenges itself and Fools believe casually! What does the “Herd” believe and who do they trust? Which “Herd”? 

     Go here>>>

    Youtube Title: Jonathan Haidt on “Two Incompatible Values of American Universities””.

    Peace Out…

  2. How’s this for a Mental Health Issue?

    LBRC- The “Big Negro” ‘Okedoke? You are supposed to be “Wiser and Weaker”, not more “Stupid and Powerless”!!! 

    1 NOLA Charter Schools are “Separate and Unequal” Imhotep! You okay with ‘Dat? 

    a. Brown vs Board of Education taught you what? 

    b. Once you had Teachers who passed the same “Teacher Certification Test” and endured rigorous “Education and Training plus Child Psychology Study”, but were paid less simply because of the color of their skin. Lots attended so- called predominantly Caucasian institutions and scored at the top in GPA! In 2020, common Negroes still believe “White ice now Vietnamese is colder”! They worship old and new ‘Massas! They still refuse to respect or celebrate their own. Christ said- ‘you’d never be respected by your own’! Lagniappe? NOE is majority Negro and fought for years to gain representation reflective of its majority face. In just a few short years, rolling r’s, ‘stuntun Negro Educated and Uneducated Fools have reversed what Ancestors gave and twice elected 1st Generation Vietnamese to High Office! Don’t get it twisted- “We ain’t mad at ‘cha Anh Cao aka “Joseph”, Cyndi or any Vietnamese! But y’all aint ADOS! When Negroes run for office, talking heads say qualifications are important! Ask any where Anh or Cyndi attended school, or what makes ‘Dem so articulate? You… 

    2. NOLA Charter Schools facilitated and invented “Opportunity Youth, kids now parents in the tens of thousands all across NOLA! Only rats proliferate faster! Biologically- Rats/Rodents fertilize and begin gestation with each sex act simultaneously, upon the act in itself! Add 15 since Katrina to 6 yrs. old. Charters trained these Chronological Adults you call parents plus all the 35 yr. old “Molds” you call Grandma and “Paw Paw”! The self- described ‘Dawg aka Dog? ‘Hogs and dogs aka highly sexed with High Blood Pressure Filthy Rapper Crowd ‘luved- ded by Covid? 

    3. What is “Devolution”? btw- Hey Common Negro ‘Simps, Miseducated Uneducated and Educated Fools? Webster is Caucasian, so? It’s not “Do you hear me now”, it’s “Do you believe me now”- 

    a. Devolution:

    1 : transference (as of rights, powers, property, or responsibility) to another; especially : the surrender of powers to local authorities by a central government

    2 : retrograde evolution : degeneration/end/

    Question- What is it about “Degeneration” you don’t get Imhotep?

    b.Big Stupid and technically obese Hog Fed ‘Simp Negroes have not only disrespected   Ancestors’ Sacrifices, but themselves and their kids who have excelled despite pitiful examples of “Self- Hate”! Can intensive Mental Health services cure those who are “Organically and Socially” impaired profoundly? Ask a “Certified” Profoundly Mental Retardation Teacher with years of classroom experience! There were no “Opportunity Youth” prior to Katrina and Charter Schools! Numbers approaching Epidemic in 2020! Even more egregious, Negroes attend more D and F Rated Schools, their so- called “Choice”? Caucasians and others attend and control admissions to majority A and B Schools and “Public Dollars” fund Caucasian Privately Controlled ones! Common Negroes are about to get a lot more Covid, then they ever will useful educations from Charters! TFA replacements for “Traditionally” trained Teachers? Only in NOLA! Who trained “The Greatest Generation” of Blacks ever! Negroes” have Degenerated into their own “Self- Imposed” Jim Crow! You and your 2020 NOLA Zulu Minstrel “Buck Jumpers” intimate and imitate! “it is what it is” and they invite Caucasians in, the inventors, unlike what The Original Tramps did! Historically Revisionist ‘Simps are the worst! Lots are non ADOS! 

    Peace Out… 

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